Saturday, February 3, 2007

Teacher Moment

I had one of those cheesy, after school special teacher moments with one of my students two days ago. I'm being a little overly glib here, it actually meant a lot to me, because I was having a really rough day.

One of my students came up to me in the hall to tell me that he had just been awarded an internship at a prestigious resort. I congratulated him and shook his hand. He then said to me, "I never told you this before, but your class really helped me. By letting me write about what I wanted to write about and supporting me, it really opened up my life." I had to mock getting teary-eyed, because I was really getting a little weepy.

I've been thinking about that all week. I'm at a point with my class that I teach it by memory. We have 8 six week terms a year, 2 sections of English a term, times 2 years. I've probably taught my course about 80-90 times. If I have 20 students in each section, I've taught about 110 students at this school alone.

I forget that I develop significant relationships with these people. I say hi to them in the hallways, check up on them after their done with me, but I'm their first contact (since English is their first course) to higher education and to the way that learning changes you.

I also forget that the things I say in the first week:

writing is a path to personal expression and self awareness
writing can open up new worlds for you
the way you view and use language shows your world view

are actually true. And they actually matter to people other than me. I'm really lucky that I have this job.